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Report: Michael Keaton may return as Batman in Flash movie

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The star of Batman ’89 is in talks to return to DC universe

Michael Keaton in costume as Batman from the 1989 Tim Burton film Image: Corbis via Getty Images

Michael Keaton is in talks to reprise his role as Batman in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Flash movie, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.

Keaton starred as Bruce Wayne and the Dark Knight in Tim Burton’s two Batman films: 1989’s Batman and the 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. Actors Val Kilmer and George Clooney took over for Keaton, a controversial casting choice for the Caped Crusader at the time, for subsequent Batman films. Keaton later went on to play Birdman in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s movie of the same name, and the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Warner Bros.’ stand-alone Flash movie is expected to star Ezra Miller as the Scarlet Speedster, and will be reportedly based on the superhero’s Flashpoint story arc.

Flashpoint is a name that’s infamous among DC Comics fans: The alternate timeline story arc set the stage for the company’s 2011 reboot, known as the New 52. But story-wise, it has some interesting implications for which Batman Keaton might be playing. The Flashpoint miniseries largely took place in an alternate timeline of the DC Universe, one that the Flash had accidentally created by attempting to travel back in time and stop the villainous Eobard Thawne from murdering his mother (this will sound familiar to fans of the CW’s Flash TV series).

In that alternate timeline, almost every superhero in the DC Universe was very different, including Batman. In the Flashpoint timeline, the mugger in the alleyway killed young Bruce Wayne but left his parents alive. In her grief, Martha Wayne suffered a nervous breakdown and became the Flashpoint version of the Joker, while Thomas Wayne became that timeline’s Batman. So it’s entirely possible that Keaton will be reprising his role as Batman, but as an older Thomas Wayne, rather than Bruce.

The Hollywood Reporter indicates that Keaton’s role in the Flash movie may be comparable to Samuel L. Jackson’s role as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: an influential and important character that will cross paths with multiple heroes.

Warner Bros. has another Batman film in the works with director Matt Reeves, who’s helming The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson.